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How HR can communicate effectively within a global organization

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, June 24, 2015

When can “yes” mean “no” or even “maybe?”

When speaking to an international workforce audience, a human resources executive who doesn’t understand the cross-cultural variances in how audiences receive their message can be in a heap of trouble.

Advances in technology mean companies have employees doing business all over the world. HR managers who have impeccable communication skills in their country of origin must now be prepared to communicate effectively anywhere. When researching and developing content it is important to find out how people in different countries are most comfortable receiving information.

Tailor your message to your audience.

Considerations for different communication styles across the globe:

American audiences tend to thrive in fast paced presentations, are impatient, and bottom-line oriented. Typically, they wish to be both informed and entertained. Speakers may be interrupted often with questions and there can be a lot of audience-speaker interaction.

South American audiences are usually energetic and passionate. They like presenters who speak at a fast clip. People in Latin-American countries may have no problem with touching and standing. When designing your visual materials, be thoughtful of color choices – yellow has negative connotations.

Asian audiences are often unimpressed with lots of gestures and may find them distracting. They are most comfortable with presentations delivered in a visually neutral way. It’s common that the most powerful decision makers will not be present at formal presentations; Connect equally with all members of the audience and don’t expect quick decisions. When selecting visuals, be aware that in Japan white symbolizes death. And know that “yes,” if said immediately, probably means “no.”

European audiences generally like details with lots of supporting documentation. They prefer to listen to an entire presentation before posing questions. Formal British audiences would be appalled if the speaker addressed them with impromptu questions. And know that “yes” among the British typically means “maybe.”

Successful global human resources managers are able to adapt to the specific cultural and business needs of his or her particular audience. What works in one country doesn’t necessarily translate directly to the rest of the world.

About the Author

Karen Rodriguez joined Exec.Comm in 1999, and entered the partnership in 2009.  As the manager of the Exec|Comm brand, marketing and design efforts, Karen oversees the firm’s identity, touching all aspects of the brand (online presence and web site, web-based learning center, advertising, PR, classroom materials, and live special events). She recently introduced the firm’s blog, The Chat, and launched their quarterly lunch and learn series, The Learning Exchange. She manages their open-enrollment seminars in New York and San Francisco. Karen holds a B.F.A. from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. She lives in Aberdeen, NJ, with her husband and three sons.

Tags:  Bay Area  blog  Communication  executives  Global Delivery  HR  human resources  Leadership  managers  Meetings  NCHRA  northern california  Presentations  Public Speaking  Sales Training  San Francisco 

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Calculating the High Cost of Employee Turnover

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, May 13, 2015

By Matthew Coleman - Marketing Manager, MyEmployees


 

There’s a disease silently infecting the modern American business world today. It lurks in the background, silently eating away at the bottom line of your company. This silent destroyer of business profits is known as your “employee turnover equation,” and it affects small businesses and corporations alike.


I’ll not bore you with stats detailing the billions of dollars lost annually to this problem. In reality, when the numbers get that large, people tend to accept them as the norm. What you need is a simple employee turnover calculator to understand exactly how it is affecting YOUR business. Once you’ve got an idea what you’re losing, there are a few simple steps you can implement to regain some of that lost profitability.

Most businesses know, on some level, that the cost of employee turnover is a problem. They view it as a mere inconvenience that must be dealt with, a cost of doing business. That’s until you put a dollar amount on its effect. Even seeing an “estimate” of what you’re losing will shock you!


See for yourself! Here’s an employee turnover calculator to help you understand just how much money employee turnover truly costs YOUR business each year. Once business owners, HR managers, CFOs, and CEOs get a look at the real numbers lost each year, quarter or even a single month... they need to take a hard look at what needs to be done to slow that tide.

Example: Let’s say you have 100 employees. Each year, you have 15% turnover. When those employees leave for whatever reason, you have to train new employees to fill the open positions. If it takes 2 weeks to train each new employee, at 40 hours per week, on a $8 hourly salary for the new employee, and a $25 hourly salary for the trainer, you’re looking at $42,768 per year! And that doesn’t even cover recruiting!

Those are just blind estimates.  Take a minute to input your data into the employee turnover calculator to get a true number for your own business. Prepare to be shocked!

While you can’t stop employee turnover completely, you can take steps to diminish it. Examine your company culture for ways to improve employee engagement. Find ways to inspire employees to take more pride in their job by asking them for input on how to do their tasks more efficiently. Survey employees and ask their thoughts on how the workplace can be improved (and then implement do some of the suggestions!). Create an employee recognition platform that recognizes people for their effort, and awards them regularly and consistently.

It’s a proven fact! When employees are engaged, they work harder, are more efficient, and take pride in what they do. A “World Class” atmosphere of teamwork develops. A cooperative, competitive spirit blossoms, encouraging everyone to be a better employee and a better person. People stop coming to work because they have to, and start coming because they want to. They are more productive and happier. That means fewer performance-based layoffs and fewer top producers leaving your company for greener pastures.

Engaged employees have significantly lower levels of absenteeism, on the job accidents, and fewer HR issues. What is that doing to your bottom line every year? According to Gallup Research, companies with high levels of employee engagement are 400% more profitable. Yes, 400%!! Pair that increase in productivity and profitability with the savings from reduced turnover, and your business can expect exponential growth in sales and profits.

Many of the factors affecting true employee engagement need to be customized for each business. A great place to start is an employee survey. Find out what employees think about the business and work environment. You may uncover hidden systemic issues that contribute to your high rate of employee turnover.

 

Another excellent place to start is a consistent recognition platform. One of the most basic human needs is to feel appreciated. From a business perspective, a recognition program can reward and inspire employees while at the same time achieving company goals and objectives. It’s not magic; it's all about criteria. Check out this video for more about that: How can an Employee Recognition program increase profitability.

Employee turnover is an infection, but it doesn’t have to be a killer. The first step is using a simple employee turnover calculator to put a dollar amount on just how much it costs your business. Once you understand that, you can easily justify any investment in employee engagement and employee recognition to shrink your turnover rate drastically. Not only will you be saving the headache of replacing many of your employees, but you’ll be investing in the massive growth potential and profitability of your business.


About the Author

Matthew Coleman is the Marketing Manager for 
MyEmployees. The mission of MyEmployees is to engage America’s workforce, one manager, one employee at a time… forging stronger companies in the process. Twitter: @matthewjcoleman
 


Tags:  Bay Area  behavior  California  cost  cultural  culture  diversity  engagement  harassment in the workplace  HR  human resources  leadership  management  my  NCHRA  San Francisco  turnover  workforce  workplace 

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HR West 2015 was a huge success!

Posted By Amy S. Powers, Monday, March 9, 2015

Thank you to all who came out to the 31st annual HR West conference. What a fantastic time we had! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. To our members, to the HR community, to our sponsors, presenters, and keynotes - for your dedication to human resources. Without you there would be no us!

 

It is an honor to serve the country’s most vibrant HR community. Whether you came for the connections, the coffee, the next practice techniques, or to fall in love with your job all over again, a good time was had by all.

 

Stay tuned for photos, but in the meantime we thought we'd share a few of the "Twitter pic" highlights (#NCHRA #HRWest)!


 

Mark your calendar for March 7-9, 2016 and be on the lookout for registration announcements. If you register by 7/30/15, you can get the full 2016 conference for just $693! 


Tags:  Annual  Bay Area  California  HR  NCHRA  Oakland  San Francisco  SHRM  West 

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Turn That SOUL-CRUSHING Conference into a WIN - How to Get More Out of a Conference

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 12, 2015

By Sue Shellenbarger

 

You’ve spent days wandering the cavernous halls of a convention center, trapped in windowless rooms, drinking too much coffee and talking yourself hoarse. Does anyone ever emerge from a conference as the organizers intended, feeling recharged with new ideas, contacts and energy?

 

New York City marketing executive Stefany Stanley does. Among conference organizers she is known as a savvy convention-goer, someone with a strategy for rising above the dreary rounds of networking and breakout sessions. Ms. Stanley says she has gained valuable contacts, ideas and insights from the 15 conferences she has attended in the past five years.

 

Avoiding time-wasting traps takes planning, self-discipline, skill—and for many, a lot of caffeine. The biggest mistake most conference attendees make is failing to plan ahead, set a personal agenda and report back to colleagues on their results, says David DuBois, president of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, a Dallas trade group.

 

Ms. Stanley, 26, admits to some apprehension as she prepares for 21/2 days at Content Marketing World. This is a conference in Cleveland focused on using content such as blogs and videos to replace traditional advertising. Her employer, Sandra Arnold Inc., or SAI, a creator and producer of corporate events and exhibits, is spending $3,000 on her trip, including a $2,000 pass to the meeting. Ms. Stanley, SAI’s business development director, hopes to return with new digital-marketing ideas and relationships with potential clients and helpful contacts.

 

A record 70 million people will attend conferences in the U.S. and Canada this year, with attendance expected to peak next month, industry research shows. The experience can be overwhelming.  Conferences usually last one to four days. Content Marketing World offers 80 breakout sessions, with time to attend only 11. It sprawls over 270,000 square feet of the Cleveland Convention Center. Sessions include “Breakthrough Moments in Content Marketing.” Eight networking sessions are scheduled to allow the 2,600 attendees time to meet.

 

Along with the usual speeches by celebrities and exhibits, Content Marketing World provides social activities such as “our own music festival” with a Beatles tribute band and “Shooters on the Water,” an after party starting at 10:30 p.m.

 

No matter what session conference attendees pick, they worry they’re missing a better one. The best networking may be in one session while the best speakers are elsewhere, Ms. Stanley says. She comes in with her schedule highlighted in neon yellow for “must attend” sessions and amber for “maybe.”

“You really have to be on your A game,” she says. “You’re networking and getting all that information, plus giving your pitch and telling people about your company. It’s exhausting.”

 

She works out to build energy, rising by 6 a.m. to lift weights and run 3 to 5 miles. On the treadmill, she mentally rehearses different versions of her opening pitch to suit different people. To help her resist the free candy and junk food that abound in most exhibit halls, she stuffs granola bars into her shoulder bag.

Ms. Stanley resists the temptation to befriend other new arrivals and travel with one group. “I have to stay focused on my goals, getting new ideas and new contacts,” she says.

 

She positions herself by the coffee pot for the first networking session; talking about the coffee can be a good icebreaker. She considers introducing herself to another attendee standing alone nearby, but she hesitates, and the opportunity is lost when another attendee approaches the man. Ms. Stanley tells herself. “You’re here to network. One, two, three, go!”

 

Meeting conference speakers, who tend to be high-level executives, is a key networking opportunity for Ms. Stanley in her search for corporate clients. She is nervous as she waits in line with a dozen others to introduce herself to Katrina Craigwell, global manager of digital marketing at General Electric Co., after Ms. Craigwell’s presentation on a successful digital-marketing campaign. Ms. Stanley plans to take Ms. Craigwell’s ideas, such as promoting GE research with videos on social media, back to her SAI team. She also hopes Ms. Craigwell will put her in touch with colleagues at GE who might be interested in SAI’s services.

 

Brazilian by birth, Ms. Stanley values Latin cultures’ emphasis on warmth and spontaneity. When her turn finally comes to speak with Ms. Craigwell, she says, “You were wonderful. I felt as if I knew you.” The executive responds with equal warmth and promptly emails Ms. Stanley’s contact information to a colleague.

 

Later, as she prepares to introduce herself to another speaker, Ms. Stanley gives herself a pep talk: “What’s the worst that can happen? He’ll say no. What’s so awful about that?” Her friendly approach sparks a conversation about how SAI might help his company, and they part with plans for another meeting. Ms. Stanley notes on each business card the follow-up steps she promised to take.

 

By late afternoon, her energy wanes. She downs her third coffee of the day. Hungry after having only a salad for lunch, she allows herself a bag of Doritos, then heads for the last breakout session of the day. Blocked at the door by a security guard and a sign, “Session Full,” Ms. Stanley talks her way in with a joke. The guard laughs and opens the door.

 

Ms. Stanley passes up an opening-night pub crawl. Networking with strangers over drinks “has never proven effective for me,” she says. The music festival on the second evening is unusual enough to lure her. She leaves after 45 minutes. “I prefer to go to bed early and be focused on the next day,” she says. Ms. Stanley once slept through a meeting because her cellphone died, she says.

 

She now arranges a wake-up call from her hotel, in addition to setting the alarm on her smartphone. At a breakout session on the last day, she finds a seat near the front, only to realize that she already knows the information being presented. Usually, she avoids sitting too close to the front so she can see who else is present, and also so she can slip out quietly if necessary. “I picked the wrong seat” this time, she says. On the last day, more than an hour before a closing keynote speech by actor Kevin Spacey, hundreds line up for seats. Ms. Stanley strides past them on her way to a panel discussion. “I’m not going to not network so I can be in the front row for Kevin Spacey,” she says. “You have to keep in mind your goal.”

 

Later, Ms. Stanley takes stock: She has reaped several good ideas and a grasp of emerging trends such as using journalistic techniques to attract customers on social media and the Web. She collected 20 business cards, initiated promising relationships with four potential clients, and made five “fair-to-good” new contacts. She isn’t done. Many people only took her card or gave her a colleague’s name. But she will follow up with them all.

 

 

Sue Shellenbarger is the creator and writer of the The Wall Street Journal's "Work & Family" column. The former chief of the Journal's Chicago news bureau, Ms. Shellenbarger started the column in 1991 to provide the nation's first regular coverage of the growing conflict between work and family and its implications for the workplace and society. Read more about Sue here

This article was originally reprinted in HR West Magazine November 2014 issue by permission of Wall Street Journal, Copyright © 2014 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide. License number 3484300144322.

 

Register for HR West today - March 2-4, 2015 at the Oakland Convention Center, Oakland, California.
For more information contact, Amy Powers, NCHRA.

Tags:  Annual  Bay Area  California  Coast  Conference  HR  HR West  NCHRA  Oakland  San Francisco  SHRM 

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7 Essential Behaviors for Better Coaching Conversations

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Alan Fine HR West Key Note 2015By Alan FineHR West 2015 Keynote

Coaching drives results. Having spent all my adult life (and half of my teenage years) involved in coaching of one sort or another, I should be more specific: good coaching drives results. When coaching is not done well, you don’t just get the same results, you actually risk getting worse results. There are seven essential behaviors, that in my experience, leaders can do that will allow them to be great coaches.

 

Today coaching is recognized as the #1 talent management best practice, and is now as regularly practiced in the workplace as it has always been in sports and music. Leaders who consistently implement these seven essential coaching behaviors will begin to have better coaching conversations, and make a meaningful difference in business. In this article, we will define and explore each of these behaviors and show how every leader can become a stronger coach through the implementation of each one.  

 

The 7 essential coaching behaviors are:

  1. BELIEVE IN PERFORMERS’ GREATNESS.  
    Effective coaches believe that their “coachees" have untapped greatness within them; their intention is to free up that greatness. There is much research showing that what we believe about the people we coach is a key driver of their performance—it’s often called the Pygmalion Effect.* What a coach pays attention to creates their beliefs and what a coach believes, drives and filters what they pay attention to. These create what are called “self-reinforcing loops”. So if the coach believes their coachee has talent, they are more likely to bring it out and vice versa. It’s a statement of the obvious, but if we don’t believe that our coachee has untapped greatness, why would we waste both their and our time trying to coach them?

  2. ACT AS A MIRROR.
    When we comb our hair in the morning, we look in a mirror in order to have an accurate perception of what we are doing. In order to know whether we have an accurate perception of our own thinking and/or behavior, we need a mirror. Great coaches serve as a mirror for the coachee by providing objectivity to help them more accurately observe their own thinking and behavior. They use words and phrases such as, “My perception is…,” or “How it shows up to me is…”. The coachee is then better able to know whether what they think they are doing is what they are actually doing.

  3. CREATE A CONTEXT OF POSSIBILITY.
    One person’s “noise” is another person’s inspirational music. Art that looks inspirational to one person, looks “blah” to someone else. Cricket arouses the passion of sports fans in countries such as England, India, and Pakistan and bores Americans to death. People act based upon how the world shows up to them, in other words, their beliefs about the world. Great coaches come from a mindset of possibility which helps coachees see the world differently. Coachees can begin to think of options beyond the limitations their beliefs and assumptions have created. The coach brings a set of beliefs and assumptions that allows for a dialogue in which the coachee is able to see more possibilities than before.

  4. GET CLEAR ABOUT RESPONSIBILITIES.
    One thing that separates great coaches from other leaders is that great coaches are clear that their role is not to be the “expert” giving answers to the coachee. They recognize that providing solutions (giving advice), however well intended, can have a long-term consequence—it can disable the coachee over the long term. Unintentionally, it can create reliance on the coach’s expertise and a tendency for the coachee to avoid taking ownership and finding solutions. Think of the child whose parents give them the solutions to their math homework! Great coaches see their role as helping the coachee find solutions in a way that they will be able to do it for themselves in the future. In other words their role is not to fish for the coachee, but to teach them how to fish. An important consequence of this is that the coachee gets to experience ownership of both the problem and the solution and therefore gets the acknowledgement for the success, with the coach becoming almost invisible to the outside observer. Great coaches do not take responsibility for solving the coachee’s issues. They take responsibility for freeing up the coachee to take responsibility for solving those issues.

  5. CREATE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT.
    One of the most important factors in accelerating a person’s learning and therefore their performance is a safe environment. The fastest learning takes place in childhood when we are open to all experiences. What slows down this extraordinary ability— and it’s an ability everyone has—is the internal conversations that go on in our minds, the ones that say, “Don’t screw up,” or “Everyone’s watching,” or “Don’t trust him.” We develop these internal dialogues in response to the threats that life throws at us including, toddlers being shouted at by their moms or dads, being told we’re stupid in school, and being advised we don’t have the talent at work. Once we develop those internal conversations (usually in response to the threats that show up in our lives) learning slows down. Perhaps the biggest single contributor to creating this safe environment is the coach being nonjudgmental about the coachee. The coach may have opinions about what will generate the desired outcomes, but she or he should listen to and observe what the coachee thinks, says, or does without passing judgment about whether it is good or bad, right or wrong. Great coaches create a safe environment for the coachee where the coachee can “look in the mirror” without fear of judgment.

  6. HELP BRING FOCUS.
    To me there are four important factors that impact human performance—knowledge, faith, fire, and focus. And while they are each important, the most important one is focus because it drives every thing we do. It’s what separates our good days from our bad days at any level of performance. When we are focused, we do things well, whether it’s solving a problem, having a tough conversation, or playing golf. When we are focused our minds are quiet and undistracted. Focus is the driver of human performance and great coaches help their coachees discover what’s important to focus on and how to sustain that focus over time.

  7. BECOME COMFORTABLE WITH UNCERTAINTY.
    Effective coaching gets past symptoms and addresses root causes. It will help a coachee become aware of and test the underlying assumptions that drive their view of the world and therefore their behavior. This often results in coaching discussions that go in directions that neither the coach nor the coachee anticipated. Then the coachee becomes more aware of the preferences and biases that are driving their actions. Great coaches are comfortable with the uncertainty that goes with not knowing where the path of a coaching conversation might lead and what the discussion might reveal. There are of course, many more things that great coaches do. But these seven behaviors have stood out to me as being present in all the great coaches I have seen, whether they were sports coaches, music coaches, or leadership coaches. My invitation to you is to think about which of these you might begin implementing to have better conversations, to create more of an impact, and improve your abilities as a leader and as a coach. HR Looking for more on how to be great? Join Alan at HR West® for more strategies. 

*Pygmalion effect (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), or Rosenthal effect, is the phenomenon in which the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform. The effect is named after Pygmalion, a play by George Bernard Shaw.

 

Alan Fine’s Keynote session is sponsored by ScholarSHARE College Savings Plan. He is scheduled to speak on March 2, 2015 from 5 to 6:16p.m.

 

Register for HR West today!

 

Don’t forget to join in on our HR Smiles Photo Contest to win complimentary hotel accommodates and more!

Tags:  Annual  Bay Area  California  Coast  Conference  HR  HR West  NCHRA  Oakland  San Francisco  SHRM  West 

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